December 2010 - Posts

AirFlick and AirPlayer - Lets you stream movies to and from your Mac Via AirPlay
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:42 PM
Apple's new Airplay feature on the new Apple TV and iOS devices is pretty awesome. The only thing that sucks about them is how limited it is for now. Well it seems developer Erica Sadun has heard our cries and has developed two tools that will allow not only allow you to stream movies from an iOS device to a Mac but from your Mac to an Apple TV.

First is AirPlayer a little application that lets you stream movies to your Mac from your iOS device. Once installed on your computer you can hit the airplay button on your device and select your computer and watch the video take over the screen. The application is a little buggy for now and don't like iTunes DRM video content, but will play any non-DRM video

Then we have the AirFlick which will stream video from your computer to Apple TV for big screen viewing. The app is very simple all you have to do is launch the app and select your Apple TV from the drop-down menu. You can then just drag and drop a file or paste in a URL of a movie file and hit play. It's that simple. The player still only plays Airplay compatible video formats, which means MP4 h.264 encoding. If you are lucky enough to have your videos in that format then you're good to go.



by willburns1 | with no comments
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Divvy - Window Management with a New Twist
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 9:46 AM
I don't know what it is about window management apps that I love, but I can't get enough of them. Every time I find a new one I have to give it a try. Divvy is a pretty unique window managment application cause you can choose the section of the screen the window takes up by activating the Divvy menu which looks like a grid. You then simply click and drag, highlighting the region you want the window to occupy. When you let go of the mouse button the window moves to that location.

What makes Divvy even better is the ability to create shortcuts for window positions, allowing you to activate the Divvy pannel and then press your shortcut moving the window to that location instantly. Most window management tools do half screen left and right as well quarter screen in all four corners. Divvy allows you to put windows in different shapes as well as different locations on the screen giving you more control than other application I have tried. 

You can download Divvy for free with some nags to get you to buy the full version for $14. I would download it and use it for a while and if you use it long enough the $14 might be worth getting rip of the nags to use it without interruption. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Magic Shutter - Brings Long Exposures to the iPhone
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 1:17 PM

There has to be thousands of camera applications for the iPhone, and I think I own about half of them. I have a camera app for just about everything except for maybe long exposures. The Magic Shutter app lets you mimic a long shutter effect by using the video function of the iphone. The controls however are more that of a camera allowing you to open and close the shutter when you want.

The app has four different exposure modes and has the option of front or rear Flash syncing. The Flash sync is what determines if a clear shot is taken at the beginning or end of the exposure. Meaning if you took a picture of a moving car with a front flash sync you would have the car in focus and the light trails going forward and the rear flash sync would have the light trails behind the car with the car in focus in front.

You can also do light painting allowing you to use a flashlight or anything that gives off light to draw or paint an image using the long exposure. You can also do multiple exposures as well, letting you compile images on top of each other as you see fit. You can pick up this app for $2.99 in the App Store, check it out.

Magic Shutter $2.99 @ App Store

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Google Gives Free Gmail Calling Through All of 2011
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 12:30 PM

Google back in August added a feature to Gmail allowed you to place free calls to phones in the U.S. right from your inbox. The feature was designed to disappear after the new year, but it seems Google has changes their minds. It seems you will have access to the feature for all of 2011, which is great news for people who the feature and for people who have and use Google Voice.

More at the Official Google Blog
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Add Google Calender Events From the Address Bar in Chrome
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 11:52 AM

Adding calender events to your calender can be a real pain. You have to browse to the calender, then create a new event, fill in the fields, and then save the event. Well there is a fast and effective why of adding a Google Calender event right in your Chrome Address Bar. Once setup all you will have to do to add a calender event is type something like this into the address bar "add event My brothers birthday party at MoMo's at 6 to 8 PM tomorrow." After you hit enter the information will be filled into a new calender event form and all you have to do is hit save. It's that simple here is how you set it up.  

All you have to do is open chrome and right click the address bar and select "edit Search Engines." Hit the plus button and give it an name like "Add Calender event" it doesn't really matter. Then choose a keyword, this is what you will type before the event title and information I chose the keyword "cal". As for the URL copy and paste this without the quotes " http://www.google.com/calendar/event?ctext=+%s+&action=TEMPLATE&pprop=HowCreated%3AQUICKADD "

You're all done, now all you have to do is test it out. Go to the address bar and type your keyword follow by a space. Then start to type the title of your new calender event you should see the shortcut take effect and after you hit enter the information given in the title bar should auto-fill in a new calender event form. Like I said earlier if your keyword was cal your addressbar command might look like this "cal My brothers birthday party at MoMo's at 6 to 8 PM tomorrow."

Pretty handy no? There would be a way of doing this in Firefox but the extension Openbook is broken as of Firefox 3.6.13, the latest version, so no word as of yet on how to get this working in Firefox. If I figure it our I'll let you know.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Get Cash for Unwanted Gift Cards
Monday, December 20, 2010 1:19 PM

Have you ever gotten a gift card for a store you don't have near you or never to go? Well typically you really only have two options, you can give it to someone who could use it or wait until you have the opportunity to use it yourself, whenever that my be. Well now you have another option, you can sell the gift card online at Cardpool.com and get up to 92% of the money back on a check or Amazon gift card.

Cardpool is a website that will buy or sell you a gift card at a discount. If you're selling a card they take a percentage and send the rest to you on a check or Amazon.com gift card. If you are in the market for a gift card you can get up to 30% off retail gift cards through the site as well. They also have eliminated the need to ship the actual gift card to them by letting you enter the codes online to transfer the funds without the need for snail mail. Shipping of the check or gift card is of free as well.

If you get a gift card you don't want or need then Carpool just might be the place for you. Turn that borders gift card into something you really want like that new gadget or iPhone app.

Cardpool
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Google Body Browser - Google Search your Body
Monday, December 20, 2010 12:40 PM

Google has offered all kind of exploratory applications that let you take a look at everything on earth as well as other planets and even star. They also released the Google Earth addition of under water landscapes which everyone thought was awesome.

Now you can explore the human anatomy as well with Google's new Body Browser. The new web tool lets you browse through the human body complete with labels for parts of the body. You are equipped with sliders that allow you to make parts of the body transparent so you can beyond them. One of the coolest features is the search bar. You can search the human body for anything which will be presented by zooming to that part of the body and decreasing the transparency of surrounding body parts.

I can image this being a very helpful tool for teachers and home schoolers that don't have access to models like this. I can also image it will help some tech savvy students complete their Anatomy homework in a flash.

In order to view the Body Browser you need a browser that has WebGL support, which means you will need the chrome beta, Firefox Beta, or Safari 10.6. More info about WebGL here.

Google Body Browser

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Stumbleupon Updates Sharing Web-Bar
Monday, December 20, 2010 11:52 AM

I am a big fan of Stumbleupon and so are a lot of my internet friends. Stumbleupon updated their web based sharing feature to include email, Facebook, Twitter and of course stumblers. This update breaks one of my favorite userscripts that lets you put your friends into groups and share with them all at once, rather than having to select each one individually. This makes me sad but perhaps my favorite script will find itself updated soon to cover the update.

The Update brings better access to Email, Facebook and Twitter sharing which were always there, but were simply not as prominent as they are now. Stumble has also added a section of your most shared Stumbleupon users so you can find the people to talk with the most easier.

If the Greasemonkey script gets an update, I'll let you know ;)
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Phone Apps are Stealing your Information without your Permission!
Monday, December 20, 2010 10:15 AM

With all the talk around the "Do not Track" initiative and the Facebook privacy concerns people are starting to take a closer look at what information you let applications have access to and send to advertisers. The WSJ Blog posted a list of 101 popular apps and what information they can access and what information is sent to the developer or third parties.

The apps are divided by iPhone and Android phone apps and have 6 categories of information acquisition, Username and password, Contacts, Age, Gender, Location, phone ID, and Phone Number. Over all iOS apps share more data in comparison to the Andriod marketplace. This is probably due to the fact the App Store is a much bigger market than Android app market, which means the data is more valuable.

It's kind of scary what apps have access to and what information they can send to third parties for analysis. Some apps the data has to be sent for the app to work the way it should, like texting apps accessing your phone number. Other apps like Angry Birds I have no idea why they would need to have access and send a user's contacts and location?

According to WSJ, "Rovio Mobile Ltd., the developer of Angry Birds, says it transmits user data to a game platform and analytics service to better understand what users want, and to improve the product. User allowed app to see location to share scores and searched contacts for friends."

I'm not use how the location and contact information of a Angry Birds player helps you do that, but it's kind of scary that they are capturing that kind of information.

All in all the information stored by apps and transmitted to analytics services is nothing new. Everyone in recent has been really sensitive to this kind of thing and though it's a bit creepy it's not really going to hurt anything or anyone. However some people who put a high price on their privacy might stop using apps that capture and share such information.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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New Posterous feature groups makes email list that just happens to be a blog, and vice versa
Thursday, December 16, 2010 12:45 PM

Posterous is a minimalist blogging engine who's major advantage over other blogging platforms is it's ability to post by email. I have written about them before and have been really happy with my posterous blog macmanjack.com which I use as a iPhone photo journal. They have just officially launched a new feature called Groups that's a email list that just happens to be a blog, and vice versa.

You simply send an email to group@posterious, give the email a subject which will then become the title of the blog and fill the body of the email with the participants. People can respond to the emails simply by replying to the email and all the conversation, photos, and video sent via email will be posted on the group blog.

You can of course make the blog private by requiring a password to access it or requiring everyone to log-in before they can see it. By default the blog will be made public so all can enjoy the conversation. The new groups layout looks very similar to twitters new look featuring a list of conversations on the left and the content on the right.

I think the new feature is really cool. Might be great for putting together holiday plans or coordinating a event. The blog makes the conversations a lot easier to read and catch up on. Rather than have to dig through emails you can simply visit the group blog and catchup and reply to what you missed.

Posterous Groups

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Facebook adds Facial Recognition to Photo Tagging
Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:25 AM

One of the great things about Facebook are all the photos can be tagged with the names of the people in them. It takes time but it's worth it to have easy access to images with friends and family. It's makes images mean so much more when you know who the people are in the photos. It just takes a lot of time to tag all your images and Facebook is looking to make the process a little easier.

Facebook has added a new feature called tag suggestions. The tag suggestion feature works with a facial recognition software to identify your friends automatically in photos. The new tagging will ask you to identify people and will then group like photos together, that way you only have to tag someone once and all the other image of that person are automatically tagged for you.

The new feature is going to be added automatically to Facebook users account, but I don't think  it's going to spark any controversy since it's just helping you tag photos you would have tagged anyway. If a user doesn't want their name to be suggested in auto tagging suggestion then you can edit your Privacy Settings and then just click Customize Settings" and "Suggest photos of me to friends." You will then be opted out of the process and friends will not be able to auto tag you in photos.

I think the new feature is awesome and it's about time they offered some kind of facial recognition auto tagging. There have been a couple Facebook apps that offered features similar to this, but they always seemed a bit spammy and I never enjoyed using them. Photo managment applications like iPhoto have a feature like this so it's nice to see it on Facebook finally.
 
Facebook Blog
by willburns1 | with no comments
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FlashVideoReplacer - Replaces Flash video with Windows Media or Quicktime
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:58 PM

One of the reasons Apple refused to put flash in the iPhone, is because it's a resource hog. It can slow down even well equipped machines and a lot of the time it's a big pain in the ass. Having said that you can use a new extension for Firefox called FlashVideoReplacer that does just that, it replace flash video with another plug-in like Quicktime and Windows Media player.

You still need the Flash plug-in, but the video doesn't play in the flash video preventing it from slowing your system. FlashVideoReplacer works for YouTube, Vimeo, and Blip.tv, so when you go to one of those sites the Flash video player will be replaced the a different one. For YouTube you can even choose the playback quality in the setting menu.

The plug-in works great on Mac, Windows, and Linux, especially if Flash doesn't play nicely on your OS. It does remove some built in functions of the flash player you're replacing like the ability to view videos full screen for example. All in all if you're fed up with flash give it a try.

FlashVideoReplacer
by willburns1 | with no comments
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mSpot - Puts your iTunes Library in the Cloud
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:22 AM

Everyone is waiting for Apple to pull the trigger on a cloud based iTunes that will allow you to stream your iTunes library to devices from anywhere. Until Apple gets their heads out of the sand you can use mSpot to put your iTunes in the cloud for the time being.

mSpot has been available on the Android system for a while now and boasts over a million app downloads. mSpot has come out with an iPhone app to go along with their web app. An application runs on your host computer in the background that will sync your music with the mSpot server. Because the music is stored on the web it can be played from anywhere without the need to leave your computer running. You can access the music from a web browser or your iPhone or Android phone.

On the mobile version of the mSpot player you stream the music right off the server using 3G and Wi-Fi. The app by default downloads the beginning of the song and then downloads each part in chunks as it plays for smooth playback and quick song starts. You can also keep songs downloaded to your device or choose not to cache them at all.

The web player for mSpot looks much like iTunes does. The layout it much the same and mSpot even can impot your playlists and let you browse your music library much like you do in iTunes.

The mSpot service is free for 2GB of music, which is about 1,600 songs. If you need or want more than that you can pay about $4 a month for 40GB of music storage which comes to about 32,000 songs. Until Apple makes their own service checkout mSpot, it's pretty good and free.

mSpot

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Progressive offers up to 30% Discount after a Report from New "Snapshot" Monitoring Device
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 1:09 PM

Insurance is something I'll never truly understand. Your insurance rate is always based on things that I consider to be circumstantial at best but perhaps this new Snapshot device will change all that. Progressive is offering customers a discount after they allow the Snapshot device to be installed in their cars for 30 days. The device tracks the driving habits of the individual like when you drive, for how long you drive, and how smoothly you brake. After the 30 days Progressive reviews the report and will give you a discount up to 30%.

Letting your insurance company track you seems a bit creepy, but at the same time the device doesn't have a GPS so it doesn't know where you're driving or parking your car, just how reckless you seem to be. I can understand why some people who put a high price on their privacy would hate the idea, but for others the chance to save 30% might be worth it. The program is only available for New York City drivers during the programs inception, but if successful you might see it's scope expand over time.

Progressive Snapshot Program

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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YouTube Trends Dashboard - Find those vital videos before they go viral
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 11:06 AM

With the quantity of videos on the internet and on Youtube it's impossible to keep up with what's hot and trending at the moment. Then you have those videos that go viral and get an insane amount of traffic and become part of pop culture. So how do you expect to stay ahead of the viral video crowd and know all about the hot trending videos of the day, month, and year? Well with YouTube's new Trends Dashboard.

YouTube Trends has really two parts. One is a blog that posts 4 trending videos as 4 A.M and 4 at 4 P.M. The other is the Trends Dashboard which can show you video trends by US state or country, age group, and sex. So you can see what videos the younger crowd is into in the US or other countries as well as adults. You can even do side by side comparisons of up to three demographics.

It's pretty interesting to see the difference between all the age groups and countries. It's also great to be the guy that always knows about that funny or unbelievable video. Never be left in the viral video dark go to YouTube Trends and check it out.

YouTube Trends

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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